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Department of Labor asks people filing for unemployment to be patient

A department spokesperson said the DOL is already seeing triple the number of claims compared to the recession.

ATLANTA — The coronavirus pandemic has left thousands of Georgians without jobs and many have filed for unemployment, but say the process is taking too long.

Now, they’re looking for answers about the filing process.

The Georgia Department of Labor said it processed about 12,000 unemployment claims as of last week.

Before this pandemic, the DOL processed only about 5,000 per week.

A department spokesperson said the DOL is already seeing triple the number of claims compared to the recession.

By next week, the DOL said those numbers could be “astronomical.”

“The Department of Labor is trying to keep everything efficient, running smooth,” said financial expert Andrew Poulos.

Poulos said the department is doing the best it can to handle all of the claims and with each individual claim filed, it could take at least two weeks to process.

“Just be patient. they’re working very hard obviously trying to make things happen for everyone. Just like anyone, we’re all overloaded right now trying to help everyone,” he said.

The DOL told 11Alive it’s working every day to improve the system.

If possible, it recommends people have their employers file a claim on their behalf, if they’re only going to be out of work temporarily. Those claims can be automated.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Georgia: Number of confirmed cases crosses 4,000 with more than 120 deaths

“They’ve asked all employers to file on behalf of their employees. You’ve got to give them time. They’re working around the clock to make it work but we’re starting to see unemployment claims being paid,” said Poulos.

The best resource right now for people with questions is the Department of Labor website with specific pages set up for those affected by COVID-19.

The DOL said on an average week, the site gets about 55,000 visitors.

Last week, the agency got more than 100,000 hits in one day.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus.  We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information. 

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

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